Palmyra Area School District Superintendent Lisa Brown will retire this summer and be replaced by her current Asst. Superintendent, Dr. Bernie Kepler.
A search is currently underway for a new Asst. Superintendent with interviews in progress.
Brown’s retirement will culminate a 35-year career teaching in Lebanon and Dauphin Counties. LebTown spoke with Superintendent Brown in her office this week more about her time as an educator in the area. Beginning as a teacher at Lower Dauphin, she spent eight years at the Nye Building, followed by 18 at Annville-Cleona School District.
At AC, she served as a principal at each of the elementary schools there before moving on to increasingly larger roles, ending as Superintendent. While in that role at AC she hired the incoming Palmyra Superintendent, Kepler, to join her team, and would later hire him again at Palmyra.
Brown is a huge believer in public education’s ability to bring a community together, and sees the school as a hub of the community. In a manner reminiscent of the community schools movement, although not with those words, she described how the school helps parents find resources and unite the community—and there’s nothing quite like Friday nights at “the Buck” (aka the Buck Swank Stadium).
For Brown, school districts in the Lebanon County area offered a great advantage in size. “I wanted to be able to know who our kids were that we are impacting,” she explained.
Brown highlights the district’s handling of its enrollment growth over her tenure as the defining accomplishment. As a growing district, there were challenges keeping facilities and teachers equipped to do the job. She said the board was embracing the tough decisions that come with considering major capital commitments while also being fiscally responsible.
“I’ve tried to bring to the District that sense of working together,” said Brown, noting her team’s embrace of the power of teamwork. “I hope that’s what I contributed: A sense that it takes collaboration.”
This lifelong educator said she has never had a regret on the career path she’s chosen. A lover of children and a dedicated administrator, Brown’s daughter actually ended up in education herself, now working in the DC area.
Brown and her husband live in the Palmyra area of Derry Township. As for retirement plans, she plans to decompress and see what it’s like to live without a tight daily schedule. She also plans to explore volunteer opportunities as well as some obligatory post-retirement traveling. Her last day is July 7.
An earlier version of this article mistakenly referred to Dr. Kepler as Dr. Hepler. We sincerely regret the error.